Bhagavad-gītā 8.15–20

November 17
New York


mām upetya punar janma
duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ
[Bg. 8.15]

This verse we have been discussing in, on Friday. Kṛṣṇa says that “Anyone who comes to Me…” Of course, Kṛṣṇa is everywhere, but still, He has got His abode. The difference between Kṛṣṇa and ordinary human being or ordinary living being is that we can remain at one place, but Kṛṣṇa… Goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ [Bs. 5.37]. Although He has got His abode in the transcendental kingdom, which is called Goloka Vṛndāvana… The Vṛndāvana city from where I have come, this Vṛndāvana is called Bhauma Vṛndāvana. Bhauma Vṛndāvana means the same Vṛndāvana descended on this earth. Just like Kṛṣṇa descends on this earth out of His own internal potency, similarly, His dhāma, or His abode, also descends, the Vṛndāvana dhāma. Or, in other words, when Kṛṣṇa descends on this earth, He manifests Himself in that particular land. Therefore that land is so sacred, Vṛndāvana. But Kṛṣṇa has His own abode. And Kṛṣṇa says, “Anyone who comes to My abode,” mām upetya punar janma duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam [Bg. 8.15], “he does not get again rebirth in this material world, which is full of threefold miseries.” Duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam nāpnuvanti.

Why? Because mahātmānaḥ… They are called mahātmā. Perhaps you have heard the name, this word, mahātmā. Our leader, Mahatma Gandhi, he was known as mahātmā. But mahātmā is not the title of a politician. Mahātmā, here, mahātmā means the first-class Kṛṣṇa conscious man who is eligible to enter into the abode of Kṛṣṇa. He is called mahātmā. Mahātmānaḥ. And the mahātmānas’ perfection is this, to prepare in this life, in this nice human form of life with all facilities of nature… We can command over the nature. We can utilize the nature to our best interest. The animals cannot.

So all these facilities should be utilized for becoming a mahātmā, or becoming eligible to enter into the kingdom of Kṛṣṇa. Because if we can do that, then there is no more birth in this material world, which is full of threefold miseries. We have several times discussed what are these threefold miseries, but every one of you know that, some way or other, we in miserable condition, either pertaining to the mind, or to this body, or natural disturbance, or from other friends or other animals. So there is always some kind of misery inflicted upon us. That is the situation of this material world. So Kṛṣṇa says that this is a place—you cannot avoid these miseries. They are meant for that. Unless the miseries are there, you cannot come to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is an impetus and help to elevate you to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. An intelligent person, he can think that “I do not want miseries, but the miseries are inflicted upon me by force.” Nobody wants. Then he should question that “Why these miseries are inflicted upon me by force?” Unfortunately, the modern civilization, they set aside: “Oh, let me suffer. Let me cover it by some intoxication. That’s all.” You see? But as soon as the intoxication is over, again I am in the same point.

So this is not the solution. You cannot make a solution of the misery of your life by artificial intoxication. That is not possible. You have to make the solution by this Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If you always remain in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then gradually you’ll develop and you will be able to leave or quit your, this material body in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, so that immediately you’ll be transferred to the planet where Kṛṣṇa is. That is the process. So mām upetya. And if you can attain that situation, that is the perfection. That is highest perfection of your life, saṁsiddhiṁ paramām. Paramām means the highest, highest perfection.

Then people may inquire, “Well, you say that to enter into the planet of Kṛṣṇa is the highest perfection, but we are trying to enter into the moon planet. Is it not perfection?” Somebody, you may question. Yes. So in answer, this tendency to enter into the higher planets is always there in human mind. Don’t think that we have advanced, and we have invented this sputnik for entering into the moon planet or sun planet. This tendency is always there. A living entity’s name is sarva-ga. Sarva-ga. He wants to travel everywhere. That is his nature. Just like you, sometimes, you Americans, you go to India or Europe. You cannot stay stagnant at a place. That is our nature. So this tendency, that we are trying to enter into the moon planet, this is not a new thing. They are trying, maybe by different process, by yoga process, by other process. Everyone is trying to enter into the higher planets.

So Kṛṣṇa says, “Yes, you are trying to enter into the moon planet, or any other planet. That’s all right. But you must remember…” What is that? Ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino ‘rjuna [Bg. 8.16]. Ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ. This, this universe of… They… The universe is divided into fourteen divisions of planetary system, fourteen divisions. We are just in the middle planetary system. There are fourteen. Caturdaśa-bhuvana. There are seven down and seven up. We are in the middle. So Kṛṣṇa says that ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ: “Oh, what to speak of moon planet or sun planet or Venus, if you even enter into the highest planet, which is called Brahmaloka, still, there is birth and death, punar āvartinaḥ, repetition of birth and death, repetition of birth and death.” Punar āvartinaḥ means just like I have got this body. Now, say, I’ll live eighty years. Now I am seventy-one. So after nine years I’ll have to change this body. Sure. There is nobody can, by scientific process, can stay here. No. That is not allowed. You have to change your body. This is called punar āvartinaḥ, changing… Just like you change your old dress, similarly, you have to change your old body, again enter into another new body. So this is called punar āvartinaḥ. So Kṛṣṇa says that “If you enter in this material world, if you enter even to the highest planet…” What to speak of this moon planet… Moon planet is just our neighbor. Your modern scientists have calculated that if we want to go to the highest planet, it will take—this same speed of sputnik, twenty thousand miles per hour—still, it will take forty thousands of years to reach the highest planet. That is the scientific view.

But there is such planet where living entities like you and me are there. We have got this information from Bhagavad-gītā and other Vedic literatures. All planets, they are full of living entities. Don’t think simply on the earth we are here, and in all planets are vacant, no. From your experience, you can see that no place in this earth is vacant, without living entities. Even you dig earth, you’ll find some worms. You, you go deep into the water, you’ll find some living entities. You just analyze that outer space, air, you’ll find so many living entities. So how you can conclude that other planets are without living entities? They are all full of living entities.

So Kṛṣṇa says that in the Brahmaloka, in the highest planet of this universe, even you enter there… Ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino ‘rjuna: [Bg. 8.16] “My dear Arjuna, if you enter even to the highest planet, still, you’ll have to accept that repetition of birth and death. You cannot get rid of it.” Mām upetya. Again He says… As in the former verse, He says mām upetya: “If you reach to My planet, then you haven’t got to come back again this, in this miserable material world,” again He says, repeatedly, that “If you enter into the highest planet of this universe, still, your, that repetition of birth and death will continue. But mām upetya, if you come to My planet,” mām upetya tu kaunteya punar janma na vidyate. Oh, that same very thing is again confirmed here, punar janma na vidyate: “Oh, there is no more rebirth, no more. You get your eternal life.”

We should be very serious about this problem, how to get our eternal life, blissful, and full of knowledge. That is the duty of human life. We have forgotten this, what is our aim of life. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum [SB 7.5.31]. They do not know that their interest, self-interest is how to get that eternal, blissful life in the spiritual planets. That is his interest. Why they have forgotten? Durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ. The people have been entrapped by this material glimmer, by skyscraper and big factories and political activities, these…, entrapped, although he cannot live. He knows that “However skyscraper I may make, I’ll not be allowed to live here. I’ll have to leave it, and I do not know where I am going.” Therefore the solution is that we should not spoil our energy for having a skyscraper. We should employ our energy to elevate ourselves to Kṛṣṇa consciousness so that we can, after leaving this material body, we can enter into that spiritual planet. That is the process.

So Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the necessity. It is not a religious formula or some spiritual recreation. No. It is the most important thing that we should imbibe in our life. Mām upetya. Mām upetya tu kaunteya punar janma na vidyate. He’s stressing again and again.

Then you may ask, “Then why people are so much anxious to go to the other planets?” The description of other planets is there also in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Now, here it is said, “the Brahmaloka.” Because there are many yogis and many, I mean to say, philosophers, they aim at being elevated to the higher planets by their yogic process… Why? Because the facilities of life in the higher planets are more than in this planet. The duration of life, the enjoyment and the amenities and everything is better, thousand times better, thousand times better. So people like. Somebody likes that “We shall go to the heavenly planets or this planet, that planet.”

Now, a…, some of the description of the higher planet is given here. What is that?

ahar yad brahmaṇo viduḥ
rātriṁ yuga-sahasrāntāṁ
te ‘ho-rātra-vido janāḥ
[Bg. 8.17]

Now, here is a nice description of the highest planet of this universe. What is that? Now, sahasra-yuga-paryantam. Sahasra-yuga means… One yuga means forty-three lakhs of years. Then that means 4,300,000’s of years. That is the duration of one yuga. And sahasra-yuga… And sahasra means thousand. That 4,300,000 of years, just multiply it by another one thousand. Now we calculate. I am not mathematician. You can calculate what is that duration. So that duration, long duration, forty-three, five zero, into one thousand, that means forty-three, five zero, again three zero. Now, what is that duration? That is calculated to be twelve hours of Brahmā. As you have got twelve hours from morning, six, to evening, six. So this duration of period in the Brahmaloka is forty-three and five zero into three zero. Just imagine. That is twelve hours. Similarly, another twelve hours-night, same period. So that becomes one complete twenty-four hours of Brahmā. Brahmaloka. And such one month, and such one year, and one hundred years duration of life is there. Sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmaṇo viduḥ [Bg. 8.17]. That is the duration of life there. You cannot calculate how long you can live there. But still, after so many years, millions and trillions of years’ life, you’ll have to die. Death is there. Death, you cannot… Unless you go into the spiritual planets, there is no escape from death. So ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ, ābrahma…, yuga-paryantam,

ahar yad brahmaṇo viduḥ
rātriṁ yuga-sahasrāntāṁ
te ‘ho-rātra-vido janāḥ
[Bg. 8.17]

Avyaktād vyaktayaḥ sarvāḥ prabhavanty ahar-āgame. Now, this duration of Brahmā, the, the material manifestation in the lower status, this planetary system, when Brahmā days is finished, all these planetary systems becomes covered in water. There is devastation, devastation, and when again Brahmā, the supreme person in the Brahmaloka, he rises up, then again creation begins. That is the law of creation. So avyaktād vyaktayaḥ sarvāḥ prabhavanty ahar-āgame. Ahaḥ. Ahaḥ means in the daytime. When there is daytime, daytime, twelve hours, then this material manifestation, what you see, all these planets, they are manifested, seen. But when there is nighttime, all these planetary system becomes merged into devastation of water. So rātry-āgame pralīyante tatraiva avyakta-saṁjñake. Rātry-āgame means when the night is there, then again all these planets become invisible. They are devastated within the water. This is the nature of this material world. Bhūta-grāmaḥ sa evāyaṁ bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate [Bg. 8.19]. So because the whole planetary system becomes, I mean to say, merged into devastation of water, therefore all living entities, they, at that time, pralaya, devastation, they all die. Bhūta-grāmaḥ sa evāyaṁ bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate [Bg. 8.19].

So this nature is going on. When it is a daytime they are again coming out, and when there is nighttime they again all becomes merged into this water. Rātry-āgame avaśaḥ pārtha, prabhavaty ahar-āgame. Avaśaḥ. Avaśaḥ means, although they do not like devastation, the devastation will come and, I mean to say, overflood all this. And again, when the day also comes, again gradually the waters will disappear. Just like in this planet the three-fourth is covered with water, and gradually land is coming out. It takes times. And one day it will come when there will be no water, simply land. There will be no water. That is the process of nature. Paras tasmāt tu bhāvo ‘nyaḥ. Paras tasmāt tu bhāvaḥ anyaḥ avyakto ‘vyaktāt sanātanaḥ: [Bg. 8.20] “But My dear Arjuna, beyond this place of ‘sometimes it is appearing, sometimes it is disappearing,’ beyond this, there is another nature.” Just take this information from Bhagavad-gītā. We cannot calculate what is the length and breadth of this universe, but there are millions and millions of universes like this within this material world. And above this material world there is another sky, which is called spiritual sky. And in that sky the planets are all eternal. And there life is eternal also.

This manifestation, this material manifestation, is only three-fourth part of the whole manifestation, both spiritual and material. You’ll find in the Bhagavad-gītā, ekāṁśena sthito jagat [Bg. 10.42]. Ekāṁśa means one-fourth part. These manifestations are one-fourth part. And three-fourth part manifestation is beyond this material sky. This material sky is covered. The… When you see to the sky you’ll find that ball-like covering. That is the covering. So millions and millions of miles, the covering is there. And after penetrating that covering, you can enter into the spiritual sky. That is open sky.

So here you get the information that paras tasmāt tu bhāvaḥ anyaḥ [Bg. 8.20]. Bhāvaḥ means the nature, another nature. Just like you have got experience of this material nature, similarly, there is another, spiritual nature. Just like the material nature and spiritual nature you have got experience here also. What is that? Just like you are yourself combination of material and spiritual. You are yourself spirit. So long you are within this body, within this matter, it is moving. And as long, as soon as you are out of this body, it is as good as stone. So as you can perceive here, within yourself, what is matter and what is spirit, similarly, there is spiritual world also. The two natures are there, as you can experience two natures here, the material nature and spiritual nature. This we have discussed in the Seventh Chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavata, er, Bhagavad-gītā. The spiritual nature is called superior nature, and this material nature is called inferior nature. So this material nature, beyond this material nature, there is spirit, superior nature, spiritual nature. This information we have got.

Now, it is not possible to understand this, these things, by experimental knowledge, just like although you are seeing by microscope and other instrument, astronomical instruments, there are millions and millions of stars—actually you are seeing—but you cannot approach. Your senses, your means, are so insufficient that you cannot approach. What to speak of other planets, you cannot approach even the moon planet, which is the nearest. So just try to understand how much incapable you are. So being incapable, don’t try to understand God and God’s kingdom by experimental knowledge. This is foolishness. It is not possible. You have to understand by hearing Bhagavad-gītā. And there is no other way. Just the same example: you cannot understand who is your father by experimental knowledge. You have to simply believe your mother. Similarly, you have to believe this Bhagavad-gītā. Then you can get all this information. There is no possibility of experimental knowledge. But if you become advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you’ll realize. You’ll realize. Just like whatever we are speaking, we are firmly convinced. We are not blindly speaking. So you’ll also be… Svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ. If… This knowledge will be revealed to you. If you stick to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness, this knowledge you’ll actually understand: “Yes, there is spiritual kingdom. There is God, and I have to go there, and I must prepare there,” just like you understand everything while you go to some other country.

So these are all practical things. If you take up this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you’ll understand all these practical, and the whole problem of your life will be solved.

Thank you very much. If you have any question, you can put.

Devotee: Swamiji, night and day… The day that’s the birth of the universe and night, the dissolution, is that also Brahmā’s day and night?

Prabhupāda: Just like day and night differs. Now, it… Suppose you take a small germ. At night… Of course, I do not see here. In India we find some small worms. Their duration of life is only a few hours in the night. They, they, they get their birth, they grow, and they beget children and in the morning you’ll find so many worms, dead, you see, on the floor, in this month especially. It is called divali poga[?]. So that is also a living entity. But if you speak to them, “Oh, there is a human being whose life is… Our duration of life, within that, he has got… That is only night. He has got day. And that day and ni…” [end]

Previous PageBack to overviewNext Page